The quality of education is now at the heart of the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century. It has never been so obvious that quality and educational excellence, economic development and social cohesion are not opposing elements but inescapable objectives. At the same time they complement society’s progress and act as a guide for all the educational work of the schools belonging to the NACE group.
We want to develop an educational programme of quality with the intrinsic value of endeavour. In this sense, the culture of effort, responsibility and study is a guarantee of personal progress, because we cannot learn without making an effort. These values and personal demands are basic conditions for improving quality and reaching educational excellence by creating a well ordered school environment which is caring but demanding, and which combines both the students’ efforts and the transmission of positive values by the teachers, one of the principal goals of the NACE schools.
Educational excellence and quality are both obviously geared towards results. We can consolidate the culture of effort and quality improvement by linking these values to the processes of student assessment. We elaborate and implement a proper and fair evaluation based on processes and not just on content, allowing us to establish true parameters of educational quality, valid in a globalized and constantly changing world. We understand that assessments should be used for the identification of errors and successes and as such represent a basic quality factor and a target for all NACE schools.
Our students in Infant and Primary Education are in a character building period of their lives, and it is in these early stages that basic concepts are obtained, not only for solid learning skills in language, mathematics and foreign languages but also the acquisition of other values which will be with them for the rest of their lives, such as work habits, reading, and coexistence and respect for others. Moreover, in Secondary education, we establish measures to meet the different skills, expectations and interests of the students, in order to ensure, in accordance with our quality principle, the maximum development of the abilities of each student. In NACE schools, we all have these objectives and in this way we can achieve educational quality and excellence.
In the very first paragraph of the first publication of Actual.edu our President states that " we have incorporated all the new technologies that can be found at the present time” into our schools in order to achieve the highest levels of quality and excellence. NACE Group schools have a large capacity for starting innovative actions which the new technologies have made possible. Our virtual Community and Classroom has now been set up and is beginning to be operational. This is an innovation that provides information for parents, pupils and teachers alike and improves teaching quality. This need to work closely with families is what has led us to create the CAV (virtual community and classroom) as a means of communication that allows us all to be close to the facts and to act immediately. In a similar fashion, all classrooms are equipped with audio-visual equipment, which encourages interactive and innovative teaching.
Our students respond with enthusiasm when presented with models of noble and demanding life styles. For this reason, we have elaborated the principles of educational quality and excellence of NACE schools: the ability to transmit values that favour personal freedom, social responsibility and solidarity; the concept of education as an ongoing process whose value extends throughout our lives, the consideration of effort and responsibility as essential elements of the educational process, the students' ability to rely on their own attitudes and knowledge, developing core values and principles of creativity, personal initiative and enterprising spirit.
To achieve educational quality and excellence we also rely on the parents and their collaboration in the education of their children. We inform them of the learning process and socio-educational integration and of those decisions which will affect the academic and professional future of each child.
Teaching requires much patience and courage. Everyone is involved as the teaching expert José Antonio Marina points out, "in order to educate one child we need to consider the whole tribe”.
The NACE educational community wants to live with educational quality and excellence in the spirit of Goethe when he recommends, "we must unaccustom ourselves from mediocrity and live boldly, seeking the good, the noble and the beautiful”.
Headmaster Zuloaga School, Madrid